Skip navigation
Nathan Hale
Nathan Hale
American, 1755 - 1776
Biography: Nathan Hale, patriot and hero of the American Revolution, was born in Coventry, Connecticut, on 6 June 1775. He was the son of Richard Hale, a farmer and church deacon, and the brother of Enoch Hale and Joanna Hale Howard (Mrs. John Howard). Nathan and Enoch Hale entered the same class at Yale College; after graduation, Nathan Hale taught in Moodus and New London, Connecticut. On 6 July 1775, Nathan Hale gave up his teaching post and was commissioned a lieutenant in a company attached to Colonel Charles Webb's regiment. He encamped at Boston, served through the Siege, and was commissioned a Captain on 1 February 1776. Hale's regiment was transferred to New York, but he had no opportunity to engage in action. A group of Rangers was organized under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Knowlton, and Hale transferred into it. After Hale learned that General Washington needed intelligence on British preparations for their next attack, he volunteered to serve as a spy. Hale disguised himself as a schoolmaster, went back to New York to gain the needed information, and was returning when he was arrested. He was executed as a spy on the morning of 22 September 1776. Nathan Hale remains famous for his final, patriotic words (paraphrased) that, "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country."